Last Wednesday, the 1/C midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy found out the community that they will become a part of after graduation. The 1/C entered the company wardroom, and one-by-one, nervously opened up the intimidating manila envelope detailing whether they would report to a ship, sub, flight school, The Basic School, or BUD/s after graduation. Waiting out the wardroom, we underclass could here cheers coming from the other side of the door- obviously a good sign. “Tradition” has it that each 1/C going Marine Corps gets his head shaved by the Plebes, and each 1/C going SEALs or EOD gets his head and eyebrows shaved. My company had six midshipmen go Marines, four go SEALs, and one go EOD; the Plebes had their work cut out for them.

The process for service assignments has changed in recent years. In the past, each community would have a set number of slots. The 1/C ranked in the top 100 of their class would pick first, then the next 100, and so on, until the anchorman picked. This process left little choice for those in the bottom quarter. Now, senior officers help midshipmen find the best match for them. For example, a higher ranked midshipman enters aviation as their first choice and surface warfare as their second. This midshipman would be okay with either aviation or surface warfare. A lower ranked midshipman enters the same choices, but has always wanted to be a naval aviator. The selection board would attempt to sway the higher ranked midshipman towards the surface community. Rankings still matter, but the new process does a better job at factoring in preferences. From an economic perspective, this maximizes utility for the entire class of 2011.

In my company, every midshipman was satisfied with their assignments. As the 1/C filed out from the company wardroom, I realized something… I only had one more year.

Posted by jjames in Navy, Training & Education

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  • Charley

    I was out Wednesday night and every Mid I saw was pretty stoked….

  • RickWilmes

    I wonder how many Mids listed their real choice as their second choice?

  • Same here, I was in Davis’ Pub in Annapolis and the Mids we saw (the Admin & I) were “pretty stoked” too

  • Mary Ripley

    Basic School!

  • My initial reaction was that class-standing should trump all senior officer ‘guidance.’ Then I wondered if a Oceanographer with a lower QPR should have fewer choices than an English major (what I studied). And what should be the weighting of the needs of the service? From a traditional Return on Investment perspective, I hope that we indeed try to accommodate the wishes of as many mids as possible to increase the odds of a positive ROI. Drafting EOD-aspirants into the Nuke program, for example, does not strike me as a reliable method for long-term mutual benefit.

    My advice for service selection: whichever offers: 1) See the World; 2) practical technical training; 3) a mission that inspires you. On many days it will be hard to believe this – and this may say less about our civilian / commercial world – and the period of naval service, whether Marine, SEAL, Nuke, Airdale, Tin Can sailor (aka SWO), will rank amongst the most interesting and personally valuable. It’ll just take some time to digest the associated large lessons-learned.

  • Redeye80

    So, now quality spread has hit the Academy. Too bad, maybe those who selected SEALS will have to learn the hard way that being first counts.

    So, there is no incentive to be first. Sad! I got my aircraft out of flight school because I was first in my class. Of course, they may not do that any more. Double sad!

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    USNA disses Cub Scout Motto: “Do your best”? Say it isn’t so.

    If so… NROTC: “Your mission, Ladies and Gentlemen, is to save the Navy from itself. Do your best.

    Service Selection? Go where your heart is. Don’t know? Go where you will be strongest. Still don’t know? Go where the line is thinnest and you will be needed and valued.

    In any case, pray. If you do, you may realize, years later, that getting your third choice was really your best shot.

  • Harrison Ostrenga

    What is usually left for those with low class rankings? I have just received an appointment to the Academy and I am a little worried that I will not be able service select what I want. I want to go Marine Corps infantry, if that makes a difference.